Dr. Thon on When a Headache Might Be Serious

Dr. Thon on When a Headache Might Be Serious

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So a headache can sometimes be more serious
when it presents with red flags. So if you never had a history of headaches
and you are in your 50s or 60s and you start a new daily headache, for example, or if you
had a history of migraines and now that headache has changed–instead of being throbbing, usually
on one side of the head, now the headache is affecting the entire head. It is different. Instead of being throbbing, it is dull or
it feels like pressure, or if the headache is associated with other focal neurological
symptoms: things like blurry vision, or what we call visual obscurations, which is basically
blinking of the image, like everything turning black for a few seconds. Or any other focal neurological symptoms like
weakness of one side or the other, coming and not just lasting for a few minutes but
staying for longer than that–those would be some very big red herrings that should
make you more concerned. A good way to think about it is if you never
had headaches and this is a new headache or the headache has changed or it comes with
something else plus the headache, you should come look for a doctor.

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